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Black Restaurant Week helps businesses with exposure, workshops and networking opportunities

The goal is to showcase foods and businesses from Black business owners across the Portland area to customers that might not be familiar.

HILLSBORO, Ore. — Black Restaurant Week, beginning Friday, Feb. 25, offers local small business owners a chance to showcase their businesses. 

The goal is to showcase foods and businesses from Black business owners across the Portland area to customers that might not be familiar, and helps entrepreneurs with workshops and networking events that can even lead to grants down the road. 

"It's beautiful when you have that incredible dish you want to share with the world and sell it, but there's so much more to that dish that brings it to the public," said Jelana Canfield, the owner of Jelana's Bake Shop, based in Hillsboro. 

Canfield runs the business out of her home with her husband. Her bakery sells everything from cookies to cinnamon rolls, with many vegan and gluten-free options. 

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During Black Restaurant Week, Canfield said she hopes to network with other Black restaurant owners. She started the at-home bakery because she wasn't financially ready to open a storefront.

"A lot of it is just understanding and navigating the business world," Canfield said. "Even if you have a background in business, it takes so much of who you know to develop a network and market your business."

Canfield worked in the food industry for 16 years before starting her bakery. It was a struggle at first, then she started shipping her food.

"We really took off because corporations could start ordering and have it shipped to their employees at home, or just gifts or virtual Christmas parties," Canfield said.

Customers can order and pick up food from Jelana's Bake Shop by ordering online through her website. Canfield has secured funding to open a storefront in Hillsboro and they hope to open the store in May. 

Canfield said throughout the next week, she'll be participating in activities that will help grow her business.

"Black Restaurant Week has supported us greatly," Canfield said. "They put on excellent workshops. Feed the Soul is a great grant program they have for restaurant owners."

If people are interested in participating in Black Restaurant Week, they can find info on Black owned restaurants on the website

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